Just like the Democrats did two years ago, Republican candidates who have been elected to Congress, like the incoming Allen West, gained unprecedented victories in the recent elections. Calling it “socialized medicine,” many campaigned on repealing President Barack Obama’s historic healthcare legislation. Now that they have won, not a single one of them will forego the government-funded healthcare, pension and other perks they will receive as members of Congress. In other words, voters may now see the hypocrisy of their campaign rhetoric and vote them out as well in two years.
Palm Beach County
South Palm Beach Mayor Marty Millar, 64, was fined $3,000 by the Florida Commissioner on Ethics for allegedly trying to use his official title to get special privileges at a local strip club. Millar was at a club in West Palm Beach one night last year when he started using a flashlight to get a “better view” of the dancers on stage, which violated club rules. When told to stop, he persisted and became loud. He tried to intimidate club staff by telling them he was an elected official. He was escorted out of the establishment and police were called and he reiterated to them what position he held. The Florida Commission on Ethics found that he attempted to use his official title to intimidate staff and gain a special privilege.
Police have not made any arrests but are questioning several people in connection with a drive-by shooting that left a man hospitalized with gun shot wounds on Friday, Nov. 19. Jake Griffith, 21, of Boynton Beach was in his driveway working in his car when shots rang out around 7 p.m. and he was hit. He was rushed to Delray Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition. Police are asking anyone with information to call Palm Beach County Crimestoppers at 1-800-458- 8477.
Charles Cherry Jr., an attorney and owner of newspapers and radio stations, is gearing up to challenge Broward State Attorney Michael Satz in 2012. Cherry has been meeting with friends and supporters and has yet to make a final decision. However, he says based on feedback he has been getting it is a “near certainty” he will run. Cherry’s late father was a city of Daytona Beach commissioner but he himself has never held public office. Satz had been criticized in the past for not cracking down on public corruption. However, that all changed more than a year ago when federal authorities began to clean up the ranks of public employees and officials in Broward County. Since then, Satz has been making up for lost time with numerous arrests. That still has not ended speculation that he will face a serious challenger in the 2012 election and that challenger may very well be Cherry.
LIFE TURNED AROUND
James Young, who lived on the lam from the law in South Florida for over 25-years as John Nevin, publisher of the Vanguard Chronicle newspaper, will have his life story told to students of the Broward School District. Young’s book, I Wanted To Be Bad, along with study materials, has been approved by the Broward County school district’s curriculum Screening Committee. Young will begin by speaking to high school students about the time he spent in prison and the way he turned his life around to become a successful businessman, chef and now author and public speaker. Well done.
Oakland Park city commissioners tabled, but have not backed away from, a nonsensical ordinance that would make it illegal to give money to the homeless or panhandling beggars. Commissioner Jed Shank says the ordinance is needed and that it would help the homeless. Shank should focus his energy on the city providing the homeless some measure of assistance, instead of such a ridiculous ordinance.
Without any clear explanation, Deerfield Beach officials have reinstated the city’s chief building official, Waguih Messiha, who was fired in July after he allegedly harassed and “pursued” Dr. Nancy Loft, a resident who had inquired about a code violation at his city office. He will get back pay, as well as $2,500 to pay his legal fees. Loft had filed a complaint with the Broward Sheriff’s Office over repeated phone calls she said he made to her. She also alleges that he made sexual advances towards her, as well as inappropriate comments when she visited his office. If Messiha did nothing wrong, the public should know why or how this determination was reached. The city has several other sexual harassment cases pending and this secretive action clearly establishes a pattern and practice that such conduct is accepted in its workplaces.
GHOST OF GRETSAS PAST
Yet another lawsuit has been filed over an oppressive code enforcement program called the Neighborhood Enhancement Action Team (NEAT) that former Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas implemented which targeted only three predominantly black communities. The lawsuits were filed by Legal Aid of Broward County on behalf of black homeowners and one has already been settled. Legal Aid attorney Sharon Bourassa filed motions in federal court alleging the program was designed to circumvent eminent domain laws in order to seize property from the poor and hand it to developers.
HONORED WITH A FLOWER
Rosemary Fuller, who, along with Pat Mellerson, led the successful campaign to have the Confederate flag barred from city-sanctioned events in Homestead last year, has been honored with her very own flower. The Vanda Rosemary Fuller orchid is pink, white and purple. It was cultivated by renowned orchid producer Robert Fuchs and has been certified and registered not only in the U.S. but also in Europe. This is a well-deserved honor. Congratulations, Ms. Fuller.
WELCOME RACETRAC STORES
Robert Beatty II has announced that Racetrac, the spacious chain of convenient store/gas stations, has joined the growing family of retailers where South Florida Times is sold. The rapidly growing chain joins Publix, Dollar General, Cumberland Farms, Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie, Borders, Walgreens, CVS, Barnes & Nobles and other fine retailers where you can pick up your copy of the newspaper. Welcome aboard, Racetrac.
Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@SFLTimes.com.